Thursday, June 02, 2005

Photography Shoot: Gettysburg

This delightfully charming town in south central Pennsylvania is an excellent place for photographers to hone their hobby or career. There are countless places on these hallowed grounds for picture taking and many people from historians to ghost hunters take advantage of what the battlefield has to offer.

The first thing that will strike a first-time visiting photographer is the number of markers and monuments all over the area. Small markers and massive monuments . . . all waiting there for you to snap the camera and get some great shots.

It is advised to start your visit to Gettysburg at the visitor center. You may want to rent a CD or cassette for your vehicle that will narrate the auto tour route, but be sure to explore on your own, too. There are some places that the auto tour will not go. The visitor center also serves as a museum, so you will be able to get some inside photographs here.

Across from the visitors center you will find the National Cemetery. This is where Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address and the rows of flat stones are sobering. There are some lovely monuments in the cemetery as well.

Other photo ops that are not to be missed include:
1. Little Round Top. If you only have a short time in Gettysburg, try to keep Little Round Top for a sunset visit. The view is impressive with or without a colorful sunset, but even better if there are bright colors. Devil's Den can be seen from Little Round Top, so be sure to get some photos of that, too.

2. Devil's Den. These huge boulders have delighted photographers ever since they came to light after the Battle of Gettysburg. There are many angles from which to take your pictures from this area of the battlefield.

3. Big Round Top. Panoramic view if you can make it to the top. It is quite a steep climb. This is an unguided trail nearly straight up and there are only a few monuments and markers up there, but for photographs from a mountaintop, these will turn out well.

4. The Site of Pickett's Charge. This is one of the spots on the battlefield that is always heavily traveled by tourists. This is where to get a picture of the spot where thousands of southern soldiers walked across the open field, and directly into the fire of the Union Army. They kept coming, and kept falling and this place has a very solemn feeling to it.

5. Spangler's Spring and Culp's Hill. This is part of the "3 Hour Tour" if you are doing the auto tour.

6. Sachs Bridge. Beautiful covered bridge a very short distance from town. Soldiers passed over this bridge on their way to battle. Covered bridges always make excellent photo subjects.

Those are just a few of the best places to snap some incredible pictures. Other places to look for on the battlefield include the "Bloody Wheatfield", the Peach Orchard, East Cavalry Field, East Cemetery Hill, the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, 11th Corps line, the old buildings in town, witness trees, and various other points of interest.

If you don't wish to find all of these spots on your own, National Park Service guides are available and can be hired to drive the tour with you in your own vehicle.

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